Safe Driving Tips, Part 2: All About Focus


Safe Driving Tips, Part 2: All About FocusWe're all distracted these days. In every moment, there are dozens of things competing for our attention, and well, driving is no exception. Loud music, texting, or an unruly kid in the back seat can threaten to take our focus away from the road just long enough for an accident to happen.

So how do we keep our attention where it needs to be?

Learning and Automaticity:

If you've been driving for a while, chances are that operating a car has become second nature. You might drive to work, school, the health club, and be so preoccupied that you don't even remember the trip. Cognitive scientists call this "automaticity," which is what happens when an activity has been practiced so many times it's become habit--something you couldn't forget how to do if you tried.

The benefit of learning something so deeply is that we don't have to expend so much effort to perform the basic tasks that our lives require: eating, tying our shoes, reading, and yes, driving. In some ways, we become better at those activities because we no longer have to think about the basics and are free to attend to the nuances. But there is a downside to automaticity, too: it's much easier to stop paying attention and "phone in" a task. You may not notice as much; and you might even start to think that multitasking is no big deal. When you're on the road, this can be dangerous.

Staying Focused:

Before you start: Take a few minutes to check both the exterior and interior conditions. Make sure your windows are clear and your mirrors are in the right position. Check out the weather. Clear the driver's seat area. Adjust the heat, music volume, radio station, or anything else that might take your attention away from driving. Take a deep breath.

As you drive: When you're behind the wheel, it's best to become a "uni-tasker": don't talk on the phone, eat a cheeseburger, do your makeup, reach behind you to try and find something on the floor for your kid; and whatever you do, don't text. If you must be in communication--for example, you need to take phone calls during a long commute--use an audio cord or wireless pairing so that you can do it hands-free.

When you need to focus: If you're singing along to your favorite song, having a conversation, or trying to manage siblings in the backseat when a potentially dangerous weather or traffic situation occurs, don't panic. Turn off the music, end the call, or pull over as quickly as possible. If the distraction is inside the car, don't try to take care of it while you're driving.

The best thing you can do improve your focus while driving is to make a commitment to paying attention. Minimize distractions, don't try to multitask, and keep your family safe on the road.

For all of your auto insurance questions, call or contact Executive Insurance & Financial Services today.

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